Most of us love a good hug, but would you pay for a cuddle?

Nicola Neal started the Hug Club in Ipswich in November, 2011. The Hug Club promotes emotional happiness and fulfillment which in turn can lower stress levels and reduce blood pressure.
Nicola Neal started the Hug Club in Ipswich in November, 2011. The Hug Club promotes emotional happiness and fulfillment which in turn can lower stress levels and reduce blood pressure. Claudia Baxter

WOULD you pay a stranger for a cuddle?

In America, the United Kingdom and Japan, cuddling companies have been set up.

One in New York offers a 45-minute snuggle session for $50. They also offer a double snuggle for $100. Their session times and prices vary, with an overnight session on offer.

Meanwhile, a Californian business offers cuddles in loveseats and beanbags.

In Japan, the 'cuddle café' also offers foot massages - giving and receiving.

Australians, well Queenslanders at least, seem to prefer to give away hugs to strangers.

In Ipswich in 2011, one woman set up a Hug Club via Facebook and members met once a month at a local business.

But why do people want to have intimate contact with strangers, and be willing to pay for it?

A Los Angeles psychologist explained in a Psychology Today article that humans are born wanting physical contact.
Pamela Regan wrote that it was an important part of our species heritage.

"We all need to be touched," she wrote.

Ms Regan pointed to British clinician John Bowlby, who developed attachment theory, who argued attachment behaviour was hardwired into humans to keep immature humans close to their parents.

Further to attachment theory, Ms Regan pointed to researcher and author Temple Grandin who developed the 'squeeze machine' - a device that provides deep touch pressure to the body - which has calming effects on children and adults with autism spectrum disorders.

Topics:  psychology

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